Thursday, March 30, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Judith Freeman Clark

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Judith's painting, "Village Sentinel" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Judith's DPW Gallery:

My interest in contemporary realism developed when I was a student of commercial illustration at The Vesper George School of Art in Boston in the 1960s. I've been painting in transparent watercolor for more than forty years, and occasionally I work in other mediums. My award-winning paintings have been juried into more than two dozen exhibitions, and I have had two one-person shows. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I had the good fortune to learn about oil painting from my maternal grandmother, a self-taught artist and my primary mentor. She encouraged my enthusiasm for drawing and painting, and in general she taught me that being creative was a worthwhile focus for my energy and attention. I was heavily involved in the arts in high school, and after graduation I went to the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, intending to become a children's book illustrator. There, I was introduced to the medium of transparent watercolor.

Village Sentinel
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Judith's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Yes — many, many stops and many, many starts! I left art school to marry and raise a family. This, along with earning a B.A. and M. A., placed significant limits on time for painting! I enjoyed a twenty-year career as an editor, and an author of non-fiction books. Then, in 1999 I was ordained an Episcopal priest. At this point I began again to paint regularly, because it provided a respite from the responsibilities associated with learning a parish. Painting gave me a healthy break from work, allowing me to enjoy something that had a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Blushing Rose
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Painting in transparent watercolors has been my medium-of-choice for more than forty years. In the past, I’ve worked in oils and acrylics. A few years ago, I dabbled in the photopolymer intaglio process — great fun but it requires a press, materials, etc. etc., which I preferred not to invest in. I still make a brief, regular returns to pen-and-ink, graphite, and pastel, all of which were part of my art experiences throughout my childhood and adolescence. My preferred subjects are flowers, fruits, landscapes with mountain or water views, and scenes featuring urban or rural architecture. I occasionally do figurative work — both human and animal, and I almost always paint in my studio. I tend to work from reference photographs I’ve taken, and my paintings are almost always done in a realistic style.

Sun Hat
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Painting in transparent watercolor is both a perpetual challenge and an infinite joy. I find that it has become part of my identity in ways that other mediums have not.

Who or what inspires you most?

I draw inspiration from the watercolors of Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent, and the late Loring Coleman. Among my contemporaries, I am in awe paintings by the Vermont artist Robert J. O’Brien, with whom I have studied. If I seek a jolt of encouragement, I refer to the works of Ann Pember, Elizabeth Kincaid,  John Salminen, and Laurin McCracken. Each has mastered a style that I greatly admire.

Afternoon Dunes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Hah!  Procrastination looks like a novel by James Lee Burke or other mystery writers; talking and laughing with my husband; the New York Times crossword puzzle. Sometimes it looks like an afternoon nap.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Recently, I stopped checking email and Facebook first thing in the morning. Instead, I grab a cup of decaf and go to my studio. I spend at least thirty minutes painting, sketching, or in some way getting my creative juices flowing.


Santa on Vacation
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have no idea. On some days, I concentrate on florals or figures, at other times I’m drawn to impressionistic landscapes or seascapes.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

In her excellent book “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron advises us to take ourselves out on a regular “artist date.”  I’ve found this helpful, and have taken myself on “dates” at museums, botanic gardens, favorite city neighborhoods or rural farmland where I take lots of photographs. Occasionally I take the train into Boston and go to the Symphony. Sometimes in the winter I go to an upscale department store to feast my eyes on beautifully designed, and very colorful, jewelry and clothing that I cannot afford!

Hint of Spring
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I retired in January 2012, giving me the opportunity to indulge myself, full-time, to painting in transparent watercolor. I’ve learned to honor my gifts and have discovered what I’m sure many other artists know: devotion to one’s greatest joy is where one finds the deepest and most certain reward.

What makes you happiest about your art?

It’s exciting to plan a painting, to choose colors, to get started — for me, very little compares to the adventure of beginning a new work. And it also feels great to be in the middle of a painting, because when I’m there I often discover something new about color or form or perspective. However, nothing compares to the satisfaction of completing a painting — when I see it matted and framed and hanging on a wall, I’m content.  And, invariably, I’m happily planning the next painting.

Considering the Primaries
(click to view)

Thanks, Judith!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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